Graffiti artists work on buildings condemned for High Speed Rail

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- On Tuesday, young artists worked on the old Baz Brothers building on G Street. The old brick structure is slated to be torn down to make way for the High Speed Rail project through Downtown Fresno.

John Paz says it was all his idea. "I was hosting this building to get a bunch of graffiti artists to keep the graffiti off the streets."

Artist Joselito Rey was helping a friend and looking forward to painting his own work. "Today we are just throwing up our own pieces, our own signs of individualism, just spray painting."

Bryan Ocegueda was making a 10 foot long re-creation of one of his paintings. "'I'm a Fresno State student, fine arts major just doing a character I've done for the past few years."

Creighton Geigle was painting a ghoulish figure symbolizing the coming death of the building. "So we are painting on this building because it's getting torn down and its getting torn down because of the high speed rail."

But the effort came to an end Wednesday morning, when the city of Fresno's Graffiti abatement team moved in. Most of the artwork was painted over. Paz was upset. "The city came in and erased everything and they said it has to be done because Jerry Brown is gonna come, so I guess it has to be cleaned up for him, like he's very important or something."

California Governor Jerry Brown is scheduled to be at the groundbreaking ceremony for the California High Speed Rail project next Tuesday. The ceremony will be held a short distance from the building.

But a city spokesman says the event had nothing to do with the removal. The graffiti crew came in at the request of the owner of the building.

The owner, Art Bazarkian told Action News he was allowing mural artists to paint on the building. He wanted it ready for Thursday's art hop. But, he said graffiti taggers came in and ruined much of the work, and so he did seek city help in painting it over. He says he hopes to allow some legitimate artists to come back in the next week or so.

The work will be temporary. The building is slated to be torn down in February. null
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